Justin Trudeau: Canadian PM takes swipe at UK over Brexit and argues it is 'turning inward'

Canadian Prime Minister says his country and Ireland should seize the opportunity to be open and progressive in response

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:26
Justin Trudeau makes case for immigration against US and UK policy

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a swipe at Britain over Brexit and argued the country is becoming increasingly inward-looking.

During a press conference in Dublin with Ireland’s newly elected Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Mr Trudeau took aim at Britain and the US.

The leader of the Liberal Party argued Canada and Ireland should take advantage of their respective neighbour's increasingly isolated approach by seizing new openings on the global stage.

"There are tremendous opportunities for countries like Canada and Ireland, at a time where perhaps our significant allies and trading partners in the case of both the US and the UK are turning inward or at least turning into a different direction," the 45-year-old said.

He said the two nations should "make the pitch” they are places which are “exciting and open to the world in a positive, progressive way."

Mr Varadkar, the youngest and first openly gay prime minister in the majority-Catholic country, echoed Mr Trudeau’s arguments and restated his country’s commitment to the European Union as it prepares for Britain’s exit from the continent.

(Getty Images

"We each share a relationship with a very big neighbour, a neighbour that has to a certain extent decided to go in a different direction at least for the time being," he said.

The politician, who is a son of an Indian migrant, said it was “unfortunate” Britain had opted to leave the European Union and would be unable to navigate free trade agreements like the one between Canada and the EU until it has formally left the bloc.

"I can't see a scenario where Britain could remain a member of the EU, even in a transitional period, and then negotiate other trade deals on their own," he said.

The two leaders share clear parallels in the sense that they are both young, progressive and occupy the centre ground. They are also in similarly challenging positions given they both face testing times with their heavyweight neighbours – the US under Donald Trump and Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Mr Trudeau, who is in Ireland for a three-day visit ahead of the G20 meeting in Hamburg later this week, enjoyed some downtime with the Irish PM after their day of meetings.

The world leaders both shared photos of their run in Pheonix Park on their Twitter accounts.

Mr Varadkar, who has previously expressed admiration for Mr Trudeau's leadership style, wore Canada-themed socks to the earlier meetings.

Mr Trudeau is famed for his sock choice and often wears a special pair for particular occasions, with many dubbing it “sock diplomacy”. The Canadian wore mismatched Star Wars socks to meet Mr Varadkar’s predecessor Enda Kenny in May. It coincided with the widely-celebrated Star Wars Day on 4 May.

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